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Twice Twenty  by Dreamflower

Title: Candle in the Dark
Theme: Set #2, Theme #11, “Candle”
Genre (s): General
Pairing (s): N/A
Rating: G
Summary: In Moria, a little more light is called for…


The only light was Gandalf’s staff. After they had wakened from their first rest stop and continued on their way, some of the awe and fear had begun to give way to discomfort. Gandalf could hear the grumbles behind him, and the occasional bitten off cries of pain as toes were stubbed on the rubble-strewn passageway.

With a sigh, he stopped. “What is the problem?”

Aragorn and Boromir, who had been bringing up the rear, looked at one another. Then Aragorn spoke.

“Your staff does not give off enough light. The hobbits are tripping and stumbling, because they cannot see the ground beneath them.”

Gandalf glanced at the hobbits, who gazed up at him hopefully.

“Really, Gandalf,” said Frodo in an overly reasonable tone of voice, which the Wizard knew was masking annoyance, “we could do with a bit more light.”

“Perhaps torches,” ventured Legolas, his voice sounding far more tentative than the voice of an Elf had any right to.

“We do not have torches,” said Gandalf, now sounding overly reasonable himself. “As I said on Caradhras, I must have something to work with.”

“It’s been a long time,” said Aragorn, “but as I recall, there are still old torches to be found here and there, in sconces in the walls or sometimes fallen in the passageways.”

“There would be,” said Gimli.

Gandalf raised his staff to look about their immediate area. “There are none to be found here. If I take my staff to go and search for possible torches, the rest of you will be left here in utter darkness until I return.”There was no answer at all to that, but in the silence the remaining eight members of the Company shifted uncomfortably. Not one of them fancied the idea of being left in the blackness. Then just as Gandalf started to turn and lead them on, Sam said:

“Excuse me, Mr. Gandalf, sir, but I didn’t like to say nothing before, as they are only little bits of things, and they wouldn’t hardly last but maybe a quarter hour at best, but maybe they might come in useful after all--”

“Out with it, Samwise,” the Wizard interrupted impatiently. “If you’ve something that might help, then say so.”

Sam brought his pack around to the front, and fumbled with its openings. “I’ve a few little candle ends. Like I said, they won’t last long, but if Strider or Mr. Boromir wants, they could take them to go and look for some torches, as would burn longer.”

Frodo beamed proudly, Pippin grinned, and Merry slapped Sam on the back. “Sam, you are truly a marvel.”

Sam bent down and fumbled in the pack, and brought out half a dozen little candle ends. He had told the truth--any one of them would not last more than a quarter of an hour at best, but Aragorn took two of them, and lit one with his striker. “I will search as far as I may, until this one burns down. Then I shall have to return here, whether I have found any torches or not.”

“I will accompany you,” said Gimli, and soon the two had moved away from the little circle of light around Gandalf’s staff, and those who remained could only see a tiny bobble of a flame until it turned a corner.

The others waited in anxiety. The quarter hour at least, had passed, and another ten minutes, perhaps, when they saw the little bobble of flame reappear.

Both Dwarf and Man bore several torches, shorter than what Men would make. “It is a good thing Gimli went along. I had not thought to look lower on the walls for the sconces,” said Aragorn.

They had brought back eight torches, the heads wrapped and soaked in pitch, and meant to burn for long periods of time. Aragorn lit one and passed it to Legolas. “Here, my friend, you light the way for the hobbits.”

He and Boromir divided the remaining torches between them, and took up the rear guard once more.

Impatiently, Gandalf said, “Well, now that is settled. Let us be on our way.”

And once more the little group moved on.

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